Clomid - What It Is and What It Does
For many couples, conceiving and carrying a pregnancy to term is not a problem while for others conception is challenging and elusive. Such couples may find themselves on the road to fertility treatments in order to bring about their desire for offspring.
Ovulatory Dysfuction and Clomid
If, after testing, the problem is shown to be ovulatory dysfunction, then it is likely the physician will prescribe Clomid, one of the most common fertility medications used to regulate or induce ovulation. Clomid is short for clomiphene citrate and, when initially prescribed, it is usually given at the lowest possible dose to see how or if it will work. If it fails to stimulate ovulation, the dose may be increased for the next cycle. It is suggested that Clomid be used for a maximum of six cycles and, if ovulation occurs with use, then there is no value in increasing the dosage. If there is no ovulation after six cycles, then other treatment should be considered.
How A Normal Ovulatory Cycle Goes
To understand how Clomid works it is of value to know what happens during a normal ovulatory cycle. The hypothalamus, a small gland at the base of the brain, works to regulate the levels of certain hormones produced by the pituitary gland which are necessary for normal reproductive organ function. Two of these hormones which are affected (and vitally necessary for reproduction) are follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH).
FSH production is stimulated by gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH), which is produced by the hypothalamus. FSH is the hormone which causes the growth and development of ovarian follicles - each of these follicles contains an egg. As these healthy follicles grow, they release estrogen that travels through the blood to the hypothalamus, which is monitoring the estrogen levels and producing GnRH as needed. When estrogen levels are high it means the follicles are mature and the need for GnRH is reduced, which in turn lowers FSH levels.
What Happens If The Process Is Hindered?
If this process is hindered, then a woman may be prescribed Clomid. Clomid tricks the estrogen receptors at the hypothalamus into functioning as if the estrogen levels are low. The hypothalamus works to produce more GnRH which stimulates the pituitary gland to increase follicle stimulating hormones. The fundamental concept is to create a situation where the body will make follicles which will mature into eggs which can be fertilized, resulting in pregnancy. If there are no ovulatory issues, Clomid is not useful.
Of the women who do not ovulate and are prescribed Clomid, 80 percent go on to ovulate and of that number, 40 percent conceive. Of those who do conceive, 10 percent will have a multiple pregnancy.
Many women do not have any side effects from Clomid use. However, with high doses, a woman may experience mood swings, nausea and vomiting, breast tenderness, headache and fatigue. In addition, 30 percent of Clomid users experience a situation where cervical mucus becomes hostile to sperm, making conception difficult.